Anyone who follows politics will remember that as the 2016 campaign reached a fever pitch, a video was leaked onto the internet showing the future president of the United States openly talking about sexually assaulting women. But Trump wasn’t just “talking about it,” he was recounting past incidents where he grabbed women’s genitalia without their consent.
The video, obtained by the Washington Post in October of last year, caught Trump in a hot mic situation talking about women in lewd terms during a conversation with Access Hollywood host Billy Bush that took place in 2005. In the video, Trump bragged about kissing and groping women without their consent, saying at one point, “when you’re a star, they let you do it.”
“Grab them by the p*ssy,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
Needless to say, the video caused a media firestorm and many thought Trump’s comments — clear for the world to see and hear on video — would be the final nail in his campaign’s coffin. But in the weeks after the video dropped, the insulation that Trump’s base provides him was undeniable and he went on to surge to the presidency.
Fast forward to this Thursday’s New York Times exposé on Hollywood entertainment mogul Harvey Weinstein, who over the years has reportedly doled out “at least eight settlements with women” over claims of sexual harassment. The allegations are gross and disturbing and reflect a common sickness in the corporate world: women being forced to navigate their careers around the predatory sexual practices of men who could make or break them.
But the story has struck a chord with a notable demographic of social media, namely Trump’s most vocal supporters — which I like to refer to as “Trumplandia.” Trumplandia runs the gamut from naive soccer moms/dads who’ve been on the Trump Train from the very beginning, to some of most detestable purveyors of racist dog whistles and conspiracy theories. Long story short: when Trump’s own admission of assault went viral in October of last year, it only solidified his support among these people, many of whom dismissed his words as “locker room talk.”
When it comes to claims of sexual harassment, Trump is just has prolific as Weinstein. But Weinstein has ignited the rage of Trumplandia for one reason only: he has generously donated to Hillary Clinton (as well as other progressive causes) over the years. Sean Spicer, who stood at the White House press room podium and lied for Trump until he was let go in July, really wants to know why The Washington Post hasn’t given “a single mention of big Democrat donor” Weinstein:
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) October 6, 2017
Jack Posobiec, an avowed Trump supporter who helped spread the “Pizza Gate” conspiracy theories, wants to know when the Women’s March will demonstrate against Weinstein.
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) October 6, 2017
@NolteNC is a prominent Trump-supporting Twitter user, but now he warns that “silence is complicity” when it comes to sexual harassment:
Silence is Complicity – The Powerful Said Nothing as Harvey Weinstein's Alleged Victims Piled Up
— Google "CNN,175,Sue" (@NolteNC) October 6, 2017
Breitbart News, the flagship publication for sexism, racism, and cult-like support for Trump, is calling out actors who remained “silent” over Weinstein’s alleged penchant for being a sexual predator:
Tag your fav actor who's been silent since the story dropped! https://t.co/FWx6v8mBs7
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) October 6, 2017
Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh, who said during the 2016 campaign, “If Trump loses, I’m grabbing my musket,” is calling out “Hollywood Democrats” over the Weinstein scandal:
Democrat bigwig Harvey Weinstein is a pig who abused & harassed women for years.
The reaction from Hollywood Democrats?
Not. One. Word.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) October 6, 2017
There’s no doubt that the alleged despicable history of Weinstein wielding his power over women he deemed vulnerable is a big problem for Democrats. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Weinstein has made 185 individual donations to Democratic candidates and progressive organizations since the early 1990s. CNN’s Chris Cillizza writes that it’s “hard to see how Obama and the Clintons — Weinstein is a long time pal of Bill and Hillary — can avoid putting out statements condemning him for his behavior. That’s especially true since Weinstein isn’t really denying the Times story; he’s threatening a lawsuit simply saying the news organization didn’t give him enough time to respond.”
But in the meantime, hearing people who vaulted to the presidency Weinstein’s equal (or superior) when it comes to sexual predation is an expected, yet new low in Trumplandia.
Featured image via Thomas Hawk (Flickr)